Posts Tagged ‘my mom’

My mother’s remaining cousin on her mother’s side, Fran, always refers to my mother as Gertie. Mom was named after HER mother, which I find endlessly fascinating.

Mom didn’t become Trudy until some point after marrying my father, Les. She pretty much hated the moniker Gertie, though long-time relatives were forgiven when they slipped into the old nickname.

Well, that guy with my mother in this undated photo, though clearly from the 1940s, isn’t Les. His name is Sonny. I don’t know a thing about him, including what his last name is. I don’t even know if Sonny is his given name or HIS nickname.

There were, in the day, a lot of nicknames for boys who formally bore their father’s names. Rather than being a diminutive of the name – Richard and Richie or William and Billy – they were sometimes dubbed Chip (as in a “chip off the old block“) or Bud (the next generation) or the initial of the father followed by J – Arthur Jr would be AJ.

Sonny, though, I always thought of as a generic nickname for any lad: “Hey, sonny, could I buy a newspaper from you?” But there are some Sonnys out there.

Gertie’s boyfriend Sonny, my mom told her kids many more times than once, would have been our father if Les Green weren’t so darn charming. This usually happened when she was irritated with our father, though she never said this in his presence.

This statement, even then, I thought was a really odd construction. If we had been Sonny’s kids, we wouldn’t have been…us. We’d have different DNA. We’d look different and sound different, and if we had been raised by Sonny, think differently.

I guess the fact that Les Green was “never a bore” is to the benefit of my sisters and me. No offense to you, Sonny, though. You look like a decent guy, even with that peculiar name.

Oh, today would have been my mom’s 90th birthday. Happy birthday, GertieTrudy.

Marcia, the younger sister, in very many ways, has become the keeper of the flame, not only for the history of the nuclear family in which we grew up back in Binghamton, NY in the 1950s and ’60s, but for the extended tribe as well.

It’s logical. She was the only one who moved to Charlotte, NC with the parents. Leslie and I were already ensconced in college, though of us lived down there for brief periods in the late 1970s.

After my father died in 2000, Mom and Marcia took care of Marcia’s daughter Alex and each other, though as time marched on, Marcia and her daughter were tending more to Mom until she died in 2011.

She still is tending to our parents’ memory, as she has access to decades worth of photos and other material.

As all three of her kids knew, my mom LOVED Nat King Cole. She had a whole bunch of 78s of his, but I have no idea whatever became of them. There were some items in my maternal grandmother’s house, the house my grandma and mom grew up in, and where my sisters and I spent a lot of time. The stuff went into storage and ultimately disappeared long ago, including some photographs of mine.

Marcia was musing about my mother back in November, just before Mom’s birthday. Our mother particularly loved Nature Boy and other familiar tunes by Cole. But neither Marcia nor I had heard him perform There Will Never Be Another You. It’s become one of Marcia’s favorite Nat King Cole songs. And I can hear why.

BTW, neither she nor I ever really learned to play the guitar, though Dad and Leslie did. The painting in the background with the guitar was by our father.

LISTEN to There Will Never Be Another You

Arturo Sandoval

Nat Cole

Doris Day

Happy birthday, Marcia!

HA! I was looking at my May posts I completed, and I assumed I’d written a Mother’s Day something about my mom. But I was misremembering. I had written about my sister Marcia for her birthday this week, and that post is largely ABOUT my mom.

So I decided the heck with it and picked some photos off Marcia’s Facebook, most of which I don’t believe I’ve posted before.


Here’s my mom with HER mother, Gertrude Williams, and my sisters Leslie and Marcia, in her red wig period.


My mother with her mother’s people, the Yates, including Gert (2nd left), her aunts Charlotte and Deana. I have no idea what she’s looking at. This is in Binghamton, NY.


Mom with our family friend Betty, probably at the latter’s home near Binghamton.


I could ask someone who Sammy is, but this predates my father being on the scene.


Mom with her middle granddaughter, Alex, Marcia’s daughter, in Charlotte, NC.


Mom with her eldest Yates cousin, Raymond.


Mom with her eldest child, in Binghamton.


Mom with her eldest child, in Charlotte.

I will say that, unlike THIS mom, my mom hardly ever swore, and not just in front of her kids.

Jaquandor asked what I believe is the last of the Ask Roger Anything questions for this round, which I held off answering until now, because today would have been my parents’ 67th wedding anniversary:

What’s the thing you remember doing as a kid that drove your parents bonkers? (I’m talking harmless stuff here, nothing like playing with matches. Mine was to flick those spring-things with the rubber tip that keep the door from smacking into the wall as it opens. You pull those things over and let them go and you get this fun, loud BRRROOOOIIINNNGGG! sound as the spring snaps. Drove my mother NUTS.)

First off, I’m SHOCKED by your behavior as a child.

Secondly, I had the hardest time coming up with an answer to your questions. I even asked my two sisters, and they couldn’t think of anything.

I mean, I drove my father bonkers, but I didn’t see him feeling that it was harmless stuff. For instance, when I was in elementary school, I would watch the other kids play softball on the playground. And then those kids would go home, and other kids, who had already gone home, would return to the playground and play, and I’d watched them.

I almost never played myself, unless a team was really shorthanded, and they’d stick me in right field. I loved the game, but I wasn’t particularly good at it. I got better by the time I got to college, but not in 4th or 5th grade.

So I wouldn’t get home for hours after classes ended, and sometimes this would really anger my father, so much so that he’d pull out the strap – or worse, make ME go get the strap, so that he could use it on me. Well, at least once.

As for my mother, I did use to take words she said and add lyrics from the popular songs of the day. So if she were to say, “We go to get,” I’d respond, “if it’s the last thing we ever do,” evoking an Animals song. Or if she needed some help, I say, in my best Beatles voice, “you need somebody, not just anybody.” I don’t recall using these exact examples – and I can’t remember what I DID say – but it’d be something like that.

Truth is that my mother was usually oblivious to the reference, which was actually quite entertaining to me. I don’t think it really irritated or as much as mystify her. “What IS he talking about?” she must have thought.

trudy-raymond-frances

I was talking to one of my sisters, in November, just before what would have been my mother’s 89th birthday, on the phone – it’s easy to go 90 minutes. We noted the odd dysfunction that seems to take place when the Greens all got together, from missing a wedding we all traveled to in 1991, to the fight on my parents’ anniversary in 1995, to the return of my father’s black cloud in 1997, and I could go on, and on…

It was weird, then, to note Read the rest of this entry »

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